Going batty at Yarramundi

A special Bushcare event was held recently at Yarramundi Reserve (north side) to regenerate and support future bat habitat in the area.

Community members gathered on Thursday, 10 September to plant food habitat and increase the awareness of threatened Grey Headed Flying Fox.

Flying foxes are bats or, more accurately, mega-bats (big bats) which are among the largest bats in the world.

Key points

  • A range of 445 native plants were planted at Yarramundi. The plants were grown at the Hawkesbury Community Nursery.
  • The native plants included Rough-barked Apple, Grey Myrtle, Cabbage Gum, Mountain Blue Gum, Sydney Blue Gum, Sandpaper Fig, White Feather Honeymyrtle, Native Peach, Cheese Tree, Willow Bottlebrush, Prickly Leaved Paperbark, Red Ash, Parramatta Green Wattle and Swamp Wattle.
  • Once established, the native plants will become a prime food source for the bats. This was achieved by Bushcare volunteers and the services of the employed Blue Tongue Ecosystems.
  • Grey Headed Flying Foxes are critically endangered and are an essential pollinator to our Eucalypt Forests along the Eastern Seaboard and without the bats we may see a total native forest collapse that could impact on thousands of other native plants and animals.
  • Fruit tree netting can harm the bats as they get caught in it – use the correct size netting.
  • Cocus Palms are poisonous and dangerous to bats and a far better substitute would be te Bangalow Palm or Kentia Palm.

PhD Geographer Sara Judge obtained the funding for the habitat regeneration project from the Australasian Bat Society.

“Planting these trees is an investment for the future,” Ms Judge said.

“We know that habitat loss and the impacts of climate change are the biggest threats to native bats.

“Western Sydney is rapidly urbanising, and often one of the hottest places on the east coast of Australia during summer, so we know these threats are only going to become more prevalent over the next few decades,” she said.

“These trees won’t create more habitat for bats, they’ll just hopefully replace what we expect to lose over the next few years in an attempt to maintain some balance for bats and other wildlife out here. The irony is that planting trees along the east coast is exactly what bats do for us too.

“People often ask why does it matter to humans if bats go down in numbers or go extinct – well, the answer is that if you think it gets unbearably hot during summer now, you’re in for a shock without bats,” she said.

“Their long distance pollinating is what keeps this strip of temperate eastern Australia eucalypt forest growing. This is what makes it much cooler and less harsh than other parts of the country where you don’t find flying fox bats. And not only for us, but for other wildlife too – we know that koalas need trees, and trees need bats! So bats are essential to protecting other species like koalas too.”

As part of the day, bat information, resources and a fun question and answer session was provided, Bushcare Officer Martin Gauci explained.

“We had a great day of batty bush regeneration,” he said.

“It’s been really popular and we’re planning more in future, all of our native animals can be supported by habitat regeneration in the Hawkesbury too.”

The bush regeneration day was organised by Hawkesbury Council, Blue Tongue

Eco-Systems, PhD Geographer Sara Judge and Hawkesbury-Nepean Bat Group. Connect with the Hawkesbury-Nepean Bat Group at www.facebook.com/plainsmountainsbats

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